Home U.S. Coin Forum
Options

Is anybody hoarding and/or melting pre-1982 cents for their copper content, or five cent pieces?

CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,564 ✭✭✭✭✭

Working on a story for COINage about melting coins for their metal content, such as silver coins after 1965, and was wondering if anybody is doing this with pre-1982 cents?

How about regular copper-nickel five cent pieces?

Thanks.

Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
«1

Comments

  • Options
    Insider2Insider2 Posts: 14,452 ✭✭✭✭✭

    See this discussion on CU further down the page: Copper Lincolns

  • Options
    TwoSides2aCoinTwoSides2aCoin Posts: 43,851 ✭✭✭✭✭

    No, but I recycle my beer cans after buying bags of the stuff.

  • Options
    BillDugan1959BillDugan1959 Posts: 3,821 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 6, 2017 2:22PM

    I thought melting cents and five cents was illegal.

    That doesn't especially stop anything, but I might not want to tell a large circulation magazine what I was doing.

    I myself have recently given up on this type of low-end hoarding thing. If "Gresham's Law" was working, the pre-1982 cents should have disappeared from circulation long ago.

    I have given up on the aluminum cans too. All the beer and ales that I drink nowadays comes in glass or is on tap. Aluminum recycling has been a time and space waster.

  • Options
    RichieURichRichieURich Posts: 8,372 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I know of one collector who is hoarding the pre-1982 copper cents, but of course this topic doesn't come up often in conversation, so there might be other people I know who are hoarding copper cents and nickels, but I don't know who they are.

    An authorized PCGS dealer, and a contributor to the Red Book.

  • Options
    dcarrdcarr Posts: 8,008 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I save all the nickels and all the pre-1982 cents that I get in change.

    I believe that it is legal for a small-time "hobbyist" to melt relatively small quantities of cents to make bronze castings or whatever. Large scale harvesting and scrapping of cents and nickels is against current regulations.

  • Options
    1630Boston1630Boston Posts: 13,772 ✭✭✭✭✭

    No longer for myself :smile:

    Successful transactions with : MICHAELDIXON, Manorcourtman, Bochiman, bolivarshagnasty, AUandAG, onlyroosies, chumley, Weiss, jdimmick, BAJJERFAN, gene1978, TJM965, Smittys, GRANDAM, JTHawaii, mainejoe, softparade, derryb

    Bad transactions with : nobody to date

  • Options
    TwoSides2aCoinTwoSides2aCoin Posts: 43,851 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A few dealers sell copper bars. Something tells me they're .950, not .999

  • Options
    AUandAGAUandAG Posts: 24,539 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I don't think it makes sense to melt pennies for their copper. They are not pure enough and making them .9999 pure is cost prohibited. But, I am a hoarder of them for sure as there appears to be little market for them right now.

    bob:)

    Registry: CC lowballs (boblindstrom), bobinvegas1989@yahoo.com
  • Options
    GluggoGluggo Posts: 3,566 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I thought it was against the Federal Laws to destroy property of the Federal Government? Remember you don't own those coins!!!!! They can come take it any time they want.

  • Options
    TwoSides2aCoinTwoSides2aCoin Posts: 43,851 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @AUandAG said:
    I don't think it makes sense to melt pennies for their copper. They are not pure enough and making them .9999 pure is cost prohibited. But, I am a hoarder of them for sure as there appears to be little market for them right now.

    bob:)

    Well, it makes cents to melt wire and plumbing pipes for it. I too, as business would have it, am a hoarder of them, so to speak. The occasional collector comes in and buys them by the pound to search or fill collections. I suspect those guys are probably hoarding the dupes.

  • Options
    coinkatcoinkat Posts: 22,795 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It might be easier to hoard Canadian cents and the pre 1967 GB Pennies

    Experience the World through Numismatics...it's more than you can imagine.

  • Options
    SaorAlbaSaorAlba Posts: 7,481 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @coinkat said:
    It might be easier to hoard Canadian cents and the pre 1967 GB Pennies

    I have about 90lbs of pre-1968 GB pennies.

    In memory of my kitty Seryozha 14.2.1996 ~ 13.9.2016 and Shadow 3.4.2015 - 16.4.21
  • Options
    GluggoGluggo Posts: 3,566 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think we could get away with melting the coins but god forbid is a person with a last name Trump were to melt the coins they would pounce on you in a heart beat. JMO of course.

    Interesting
    @dcarr said:

    I believe that it is legal for a small-time "hobbyist" to melt relatively small quantities of cents to make bronze castings or whatever. Large scale harvesting and scrapping of cents and nickels is against current regulations.

  • Options
    mustangmanbobmustangmanbob Posts: 1,890 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I scrap some amounts of copper, steel, brass, etc. as result of my classic auto business. For example, I would refurbish a heater box, but the heater core ( copper and brass) gets recycled, along with radiators, etc.

    Copper cent coins that are damaged, foreigns, etc. For example, a 1 pfennig coin takes about 200 to equal a pound, currently $2.25 scrap, but the same 200 is only equal to 2 marks, or about $1, plus they have to be transported to Germany.

    So, damaged US coins, foreigns, etc, get dropped into the neck of a copper radiator, and the top crushed, and off they go for $2.25 a pound. Probably less than 20 US coins a month, and all are bent, cut, etc.

  • Options
    bronco2078bronco2078 Posts: 9,964 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @mustangmanbob said:
    I scrap some amounts of copper, steel, brass, etc. as result of my classic auto business. For example, I would refurbish a heater box, but the heater core ( copper and brass) gets recycled, along with radiators, etc.

    Copper cent coins that are damaged, foreigns, etc. For example, a 1 pfennig coin takes about 200 to equal a pound, currently $2.25 scrap, but the same 200 is only equal to 2 marks, or about $1, plus they have to be transported to Germany.

    So, damaged US coins, foreigns, etc, get dropped into the neck of a copper radiator, and the top crushed, and off they go for $2.25 a pound. Probably less than 20 US coins a month, and all are bent, cut, etc.

    So if you are going to scrap some copper pipe , crimp the end fill with pennies and crimp the other end. toss it in with a bunch of other pipe voila. ,

  • Options
    keetskeets Posts: 25,351 ✭✭✭✭✭

    we buy pre-1982 Memorials for .012 Cents each. my boss currently has around 100 bags or so.

  • Options
    TreashuntTreashunt Posts: 6,747 ✭✭✭✭✭

    no

    Frank

    BHNC #203

  • Options
    logger7logger7 Posts: 8,094 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Metals are cheap now. Vehicle junkyards were getting a lot more just a few years ago. China makes the market.

  • Options
    oih82w8oih82w8 Posts: 11,906 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have a few coffee cans of pre 82 cents.

    oih82w8 = Oh I Hate To Wait _defectus patientia_aka...Dr. Defecto - Curator of RMO's

    BST transactions: dbldie55, jayPem, 78saen, UltraHighRelief, nibanny, liefgold, FallGuy, lkeigwin, mbogoman, Sandman70gt, keets, joeykoins, ianrussell (@GC), EagleEye, ThePennyLady, GRANDAM, Ilikecolor, Gluggo, okiedude, Voyageur, LJenkins11, fastfreddie, ms70, pursuitofliberty, ZoidMeister,Coin Finder, GotTheBug, edwardjulio, Coinnmore...
  • Options
    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I save any wheaties I find....will search them someday.... or not.. :D Cheers, RickO

  • Options
    TwoSides2aCoinTwoSides2aCoin Posts: 43,851 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Help !

  • Options
    CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,564 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @keets said:
    we buy pre-1982 Memorials for .012 Cents each. my boss currently has around 100 bags or so.

    Thanks. What is the hypothetical "melt value" of the copper in one coin, and what would it cost to refine say one million coins down to their pure copper?

    I remember when the spot price of silver first drifted over $1.29 an ounce, the price at which the silver in a silver dollar was worth a full dollar. Everybody said that it would have to hit $1.38 for it to be worth melting down the dimes, quarters and halves because they were about 7% lighter, and it would be a long time before that happened.

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • Options
    92vette92vette Posts: 528 ✭✭✭

    Kyle Bass got much press several years ago for taking physical delivery of 20 million nickels. He was of course interested in their nickel & copper content for base metal value which was rising at the time. The theoretical melt value was in excess of 5 cents. I say theoretical because of course it's illegal to melt them, and it's not clear who would pay melt for these in the event they stopped being produced. I read all I could about Bass's buy from many sources and nowhere could I find a plan from him on how to unload them when the time comes, who are his intended buyers and the logistics of cashing in. 20 million nickels is about 115 tons I believe. It's a small warehouse full. Would you set up a retail operation? Or sell directly to the refiners? I heard but can't verify that the 80/20 composition of nickels isn't useful as-is to industry and would need to be smelted.

  • Options
    BillDugan1959BillDugan1959 Posts: 3,821 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @92vette

    Thoughtful post, but FWIW, Red book says the composition of the five cent coin is 75% copper, 25% nickel.

    Mr. Bass is playing in a different league than most of us - his warehouse full of nickels is just a wild hair up his patootie.

  • Options
    92vette92vette Posts: 528 ✭✭✭
    edited November 7, 2017 9:52AM

    Thanks, I meant to say that to my knowledge industry uses 80/20, and not the 75/25 of the US nickel. Someone who has dealt with scrap yards or smelters may wanna chime in. At any rate, yes I believe it was a wild hair or a publicity stunt. In the press at the time his buy was revealed in 2011 he was quite certain that "any day now" the govt would stop issuing nickels and the ban would be lifted.

  • Options
    crazyhounddogcrazyhounddog Posts: 13,817 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I save all of my change, period. But I do have a special bucket for pre 82 cents and earlier. I have no plans on melting anything.

    The bitterness of "Poor Quality" is remembered long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.
  • Options
    JBKJBK Posts: 14,788 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @92vette said:
    Thanks, I meant to say that to my knowledge industry uses 80/20, and not the 75/25 of the US nickel.

    That's actually good news, then, for a hypothetical refiner as they just need to add pure nickel (maybe some vintage Canadian nickels?) to get to 80/20. (I have heard that the oddball, unusable alloy in silver war nickels is one reason they are not really useful as a silver source - too much refining necessary to separate out the other metals).

    Of course, when I search nickel rolls I find the occasional foreign coin so they might want to at least run a magnet over the hoard on it's way to the melting pot.

  • Options
    johnny9434johnny9434 Posts: 27,521 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @crazyhounddog said:
    I save all of my change, period. But I do have a special bucket for pre 82 cents and earlier. I have no plans on melting anything.

    same here. nothing wrong there

  • Options
    derrybderryb Posts: 36,212 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm hording nickels. Surprising how few of them you get in change.

    Give Me Liberty or Give Me Debt

  • Options
    stevebensteveben Posts: 4,596 ✭✭✭✭✭

    of course i hoard them!

  • Options
    ShadyDaveShadyDave Posts: 2,188 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @logger7 said:
    Metals are cheap now. Vehicle junkyards were getting a lot more just a few years ago. China makes the market.

    https://www.coinworld.com/news/us-coins/2015/11/complaint-filed-over-seized-mutilated-coins.all.html

    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2015/03/feds_uncover_scheme_to_defraud_us_mint_out_of_54m.html

    That has since stopped or slowed very dramatically. They weren't actually returning US coins...they were fake's, go figure.

    I have 5 gallon home depot buckets for my pre-82 copper cents in my basement.

  • Options
    pocketpiececommemspocketpiececommems Posts: 5,748 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The Old Man on Pawn Stars hoards pre 1982 pennies

  • Options
    92vette92vette Posts: 528 ✭✭✭

    @JBK said:

    @92vette said:
    Thanks, I meant to say that to my knowledge industry uses 80/20, and not the 75/25 of the US nickel.

    That's actually good news, then, for a hypothetical refiner as they just need to add pure nickel (maybe some vintage Canadian nickels?) to get to 80/20. (I have heard that the oddball, unusable alloy in silver war nickels is one reason they are not really useful as a silver source - too much refining necessary to separate out the other metals).

    Of course, when I search nickel rolls I find the occasional foreign coin so they might want to at least run a magnet over the hoard on it's way to the melting pot.

    This is all second hand knowledge and fuzzy memory but I remember what I had read indicated it wasn't necessarily an easy or cheap thing for a smelter to add or subtract copper or nickel to get from us nickels to whatever the common industrial grade cupronickel is, whether 80/20 or 70/30.

  • Options
    CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,564 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Did some math. The pre-1982 cents (excluding 1943, of course) weigh 48 grains of .950 fine copper. Deducting the alloy it take 153.5 coins to contain one avdp. pound of pure copper. When I looked just now copper was at about $3.09 per pound, so each coin contains just barely over two cents worth of copper.

    Still need to look into the cost of refining the copper out of the cents. Anybody on good terms with a smelter?

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • Options
    mustangmanbobmustangmanbob Posts: 1,890 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The scrap to smelter group that I deal with does not have any issues with 95 / 5 or 75 / 25 etc. They are buying copper that primarily has come from plumbing (lead), wiring harnesses (plastics, brass, etc.) etc. Whole car bodies, with all the impurities, automotive and industrial radiators / heat exchangers, etc.

    When the process is set up to receive railroad hopper cars of "generally" separated scrap, for example, #3 Copper often will have brass or steel fittings, the "contaminated garbage" they deal in makes smelting coins a snap..

    Copper: When it is done, it is 3N to 5N purity (99.9% to 99.999%) depending on what you want to pay for.

    Typical smelt chain:

    Typical steps may be (1) concentration (of low grade ores) by flotation and leaching, (2) roasting, (3) formation of copper “matte” (40-50% Cu), (4) reduction of matte to “blister” copper (96-98%), (5) electrolytic refining to 99.9+% copper.

    The anode slime (yes, that is the correct name) is the crud left over from the copper extraction, and that slime contains, among other things, gold and silver, so the slime has it's own process to extract those elements.

    Nickel is smelted to 99% for Nickel 200 and 201 and the Monel family of alloys (nickel copper) 400, 401, k-500 are 63% minimum Nickel, 27 - 34% copper and 2.5% Iron, typically, so it is 1) not difficult to smelt out copper enroute to 200 or 201, or, if one had a smelter load of Nickles, to adjust the melt slightly to create one of several Monel alloys.

  • Options
    CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,564 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks. Must require a lot of material to be cost effective, but I suppose that any quantity of 95% copper cents could be combined with any other batch of high-grade copper for refining.

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • Options
    cladkingcladking Posts: 28,350 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JBK said:

    (c)(1) The prohibition contained in § 82.1 against exportation, melting, or treatment of 5-cent coins and one-cent coins of the United States shall not apply to coins exported, melted, or treated under a written license issued by the Secretary of the Treasury (or designee).
    (2) Applications for licenses should be transmitted to the Director, United States Mint, 801 9th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20220.

    I find it simply incredible there should be any exceptions to the law. But obviously if someone has several billions of pennies they can afford to buy an exception. Obviously people want to get in on the huge profits made by it. Obviously someone with a handful of pennies is holding government property but if you have a warehouse full they are yours.

    Tempus fugit.
  • Options
    cladkingcladking Posts: 28,350 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @92vette said:
    Kyle Bass got much press several years ago for taking physical delivery of 20 million nickels. He was of course interested in their nickel & copper content for base metal value which was rising at the time. The theoretical melt value was in excess of 5 cents. I say theoretical because of course it's illegal to melt them, and it's not clear who would pay melt for these in the event they stopped being produced. I read all I could about Bass's buy from many sources and nowhere could I find a plan from him on how to unload them when the time comes, who are his intended buyers and the logistics of cashing in. 20 million nickels is about 115 tons I believe. It's a small warehouse full. Would you set up a retail operation? Or sell directly to the refiners? I heard but can't verify that the 80/20 composition of nickels isn't useful as-is to industry and would need to be smelted.

    You heard wrong. There are numerous applications for using cu/ ni 5c pieces as is in industry. These simply constitute high quality chill scrap in numerous alloys. This is where our nickels will end up and it is quite possible that Bass has probably already disposed of these coins.

    The profits will simply accrue to those who can buy the licenses it would seem.

    Tempus fugit.
  • Options
    cladkingcladking Posts: 28,350 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Industrial processes have been melting coin of all types for decades now. Some of the Indian coins made in staggering numbers can be difficult to find because of widespread melting. a ship used to sail from Japan to South America loaded with cars and sail back loaded with coin to be turned into cars and other household products back during the '80's and '90's. All of Europe's coins were melted for the same reasons back after the Euro was introduced. Canada's older coins have been getting pulled out and melted and then replaced by steel coins.

    We have a throw away mentality and an economy based on waste. We make pennies that virtually evaporate that cost more than their face value to handle nd count each time they are used. Attrition rates on coins now days are about as high as the attrition rates on last year's milk.

    Tempus fugit.
  • Options
    cladkingcladking Posts: 28,350 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Lots of pennies are being used in things like sculpting classes. It's usually easier to get the copper one cent coins than to buy copper on the market and far cheaper.

    Tempus fugit.
  • Options
    jesbrokenjesbroken Posts: 9,318 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have a few pickle jars of cents. Just never had a use for them and for the last few years I have been just adding them to the penny buckets at the stores to help those without any. Funny, but I have never taken any. I do not have any plans to melt any of them for copper, but thought I might make bullets out of them, if I could even arrange 2000 degrees. lol
    Jim


    When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest....Abraham Lincoln

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.....Mark Twain
  • Options
    daltexdaltex Posts: 3,486 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Stupid Question Time:

    If it is (generally speaking) illegal to melt one and five cent coins for the metal, is it really legal to melt 90% silver? If so, why?

  • Options
    dcarrdcarr Posts: 8,008 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @daltex said:
    Stupid Question Time:

    If it is (generally speaking) illegal to melt one and five cent coins for the metal, is it really legal to melt 90% silver? If so, why?

    Defacement of US Coins is legal sol long as it isn't done for fraudulent purposes.
    However, the Secretary of the Treasury has autonomous authority to impose regulations regarding existing coinage. One such regulation restricts the scrapping of current cents and nickels. There is no such regulation currently regarding other coins.

  • Options
    dcarrdcarr Posts: 8,008 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The "singularity" is going to require a lot of copper (and other materials).

  • Options
    92vette92vette Posts: 528 ✭✭✭

    Cladking, mustangmanbob or others. Your opinion: If i had a large quantity of nickels or pennies, could i get a scrapyard or refiner to pay melt in a hypothetical future where the govt declares it legal?

  • Options
    92vette92vette Posts: 528 ✭✭✭

    @cladking said:

    @92vette said:
    Kyle Bass got much press several years ago for taking physical delivery of 20 million nickels. He was of course interested in their nickel & copper content for base metal value which was rising at the time. The theoretical melt value was in excess of 5 cents. I say theoretical because of course it's illegal to melt them, and it's not clear who would pay melt for these in the event they stopped being produced. I read all I could about Bass's buy from many sources and nowhere could I find a plan from him on how to unload them when the time comes, who are his intended buyers and the logistics of cashing in. 20 million nickels is about 115 tons I believe. It's a small warehouse full. Would you set up a retail operation? Or sell directly to the refiners? I heard but can't verify that the 80/20 composition of nickels isn't useful as-is to industry and would need to be smelted.

    You heard wrong. There are numerous applications for using cu/ ni 5c pieces as is in industry. These simply constitute high quality chill scrap in numerous alloys. This is where our nickels will end up and it is quite possible that Bass has probably already disposed of these coins.

    The profits will simply accrue to those who can buy the licenses it would seem.

    Thanks for the info. But about Bass possibly already disposing of his hoard this doesn't compute to me because A) Who would pay melt for his nickels when you can acquire your own for face value? B) Melting is illegal, so what use would they be to refiners C) Melt has pretty steadily dropped since Bass's purchase, When he bought melt was 6.X cents and fell & stayed below face value shortly thereafter. Until the end of nickel production and lifting of the melt ban, it would seem he is stuck with these, no? Unless he plans to return them to the Fed for face, in which case he is booking a real loss (transportation, etc.)

  • Options
    cladkingcladking Posts: 28,350 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @92vette said:
    Your opinion: If i had a large quantity of nickels or pennies, could i get a scrapyard or refiner to pay melt in a hypothetical future where the govt declares it legal?

    I always figured that the mint would lift the ban when the coins were removed om circulation but I wasn't aware of this "licensing" thing. It could be used for private concerns or quasi-governmental bodies to limit the numbers of individuals or entities that can profit from our coins.

    Eventually the ban will be lifted or like most laws, just no longer enforced, but that could be many years away.

    Tempus fugit.
  • Options
    cladkingcladking Posts: 28,350 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @92vette said:

    Thanks for the info. But about Bass possibly already disposing of his hoard this doesn't compute to me because A) Who would pay melt for his nickels when you can acquire your own for face value? B) Melting is illegal, so what use would they be to refiners C) Melt has pretty steadily dropped since Bass's purchase, When he bought melt was 6.X cents and fell & stayed below face value shortly thereafter. Until the end of nickel production and lifting of the melt ban, it would seem he is stuck with these, no? Unless he plans to return them to the Fed for face, in which case he is booking a real loss (transportation, etc.)

    I know nothing of the specifics here. You're probably more likely to be right than I.

    Tempus fugit.
  • Options
    GotTheBugGotTheBug Posts: 1,547 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 17, 2019 4:10AM

    .

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Emoji
Image
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file